Monday, June 6, 2011

Anniversary Beers — Shmaltz Brewing Co. vs. Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.

Shmaltz Brewing Co.
Jewbelation Fourteen
14th Anniversary Ale
ABV 14%

Midnight brown.
Sweet, smoky and boozy with some floral hops mixed in.
Rich, thick, smoky, and super sweet with some soy sauce notes.
Hops vs. Malts
(Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Finish: More smoke and soy sauce
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good -

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.
84/09 Double Alt
25th Anniversary
ABV 9.8%

Dark reddish brown.
Aroma: Sweet malts, cocoa and molasses.
Flavor: Sweet rich and malty. Molasses and burnt sugar.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Lingering cocoa with touch of bitterness as well.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow

Celebrating an anniversary with an extreme or unique beer has become a tradition of many craft breweries. Drinking these beers has become a tradition of ours.

This battle featured a two year old bottle of Widmer Brothers 25th Anniversary 84/09 that I picked up recently at the new bottle store in Lynnwood, Special Brews. They had a real nice selection of beers and I noticed a few other aged beers as well. Apparently they also have six taps up and pouring now, so they're definitely worth checking out if you find yourself cruising through Lynnwood anytime soon. The other half of the battle was a bottle from Shmaltz Brewing in NYC celebrating their 14th anniversary.

These two heavyweights (9.8% ABV for Widmer, 14% for Shmaltz!) put on an entertaining fight. The Widmer was a huge, sweet malt-bomb with some nice cocoa flavors and just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Despite the high ABV, neither of us thought it came across as hot or boozy. Definitely a solid beer that is worth your time if you're looking for something to sip on after dinner.

The Shmaltz was also a sweet beer, but they turned the malt volume up to 14. It was a rich, thick, syrupy blast of sugar. It gives me a bit of headache just writing about it. It did manage to offer up some smokiness as well, which made the whole thing taste like what we imagine smoked powdered sugar might taste like. The sharp, intensity of flavor reminded us a bit of soy sauce with sugar in place of salt. And finally, it did not hide the alcohol well. With each sip we could feel our blood alcohol rising. Needless to say, we didn't come close to finishing the bottle. We capped it with a champagne stopper and will keep it to drizzle over ice cream or something.

Winner by unanimous decision: Widmer 25th Anniversary 84/09

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